Although President Oscar Arias signed the order to build the new international airport in the Southern Zone almost two years ago, not much has happened since. We keep checking around Palmar Sur, stopping at the airport there now and asking questions about when to expect the new airport. Recently the staff at the existing airport seemed excited when I asked again.
Financing the Airport: We'd been told that the financing was approved but I recently saw a request for proposals for solicitations for bids to build and operate the airport on a concession basis, similar to current operation for both the Juan Santamaria Airport in San Jose and the Daniel Oduber Quiros Airport in Liberia. In July of 2009, ADC & HAS AIRPORTS in an equal joint venture with its Brazilian partner, Andrade Gutierrez Concessões, completed the acquisition of the contract for the development, investment and operation of the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. It also owns a 45% interest in the newly awarded 20-year concession for the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport, in Liberia, Costa Rica, which serves the growing tourist market in the northwest sector of the country. In both instances, ADC & HAS AIRPORTS is the airport operator as well as an equity investor. On 11/6/09 HAS Development Corporation (HASDC), an affiliate of the Houston Airport System, and Airport Development Corporation (ADC), a Canadian airport developer announced the formation of a long-term strategic partnership with OMERS Strategic Investments (OSI), a member of the OMERS Worldwide group of companies. The partnership operates under the brand name of ADC & HAS AIRPORTS. It is speculated that Costa Rica is soliciting to award a concession for the construction and operation of the new Southern Zone International Airport to the firm.
Recent Press: (July 16, 2009) alDia reported that the Arias administration is in deep negotiations with Panama's new President Ricardo Martinelli regarding the airport.
The airport would not only increase tourism in the Southern zone of Costa Rica, but it would also increase the number of visitors to Panama. Panama President Martinelli has expressed interest in helping Costa Rica get the airport built in a joint venture. The exact details are still being worked out and nothing formally has been announced. However, given the lack of news regarding the project and the current economic condition around the world this is great news for those who are thinking of visiting Costa Rica's Osa region, own real estate in the region or are thinking of purchasing land there.
Rodrigo Arias, Presidential Minister and brother of Oscar Arias, informed President Martinelli that Costa Rica has the land available, identified, surveyed and studied. The only remaining factor is funds to complete the project. The airport would be similar to Liberia International airport in Guanacaste in terms of size and capacity.
"From both a developer's and a tourism sector standpoint this is great news," commented Hanz Cruz, Deputy Mayor of San Isidro del General. "All of Costa Rica will benefit from this but especially the southern zone which is the most beautiful area of the country, but often overlooked by investors and tourists."
The majority of developments are in Guanacaste due to easy access through Liberia. This new airport will help the Southern zone tremendously and the developments there. The airport will also allow tourists to Panama an easy and fast way to visit the western region of the country. The Panama border is approximately one hour from Palmar Sur. Currently to fly into Panama's western region visitors must first fly into Panama City and then out to a regional airport (for example David). This will remove a step and save visitors and residents almost 1/2 day in travel time.
President Martinelli is also analyzing Costa Rica's great medical system and looking at ways to implement a similar system in Panama to help control costs and care for their aging population.
Published Thursday, July 16, 2009 9:39 PM in Al Dia, a leading newspaper in Costa Rica - by Nick Halverson